Extremely rare set of 2 maps (Sheet III and Sheet IV) of Whitney's monumental (and never finished) map of Central California and part of Nevada.
Sometime after 1870, J.D. Whitney commissioned a 4 sheet map of Central California on a Scale of 1:380,160, of which only 1 sheet was completed and the other 3 sheets partially completed.
Charles Hoffmann (for whom Mt. Hoffmann in California was named) was selected as the principal topographer for the project, which also included V. Wackenreuder, J.T. Gardner, A. Craven, and A.D. Wilson, as his field assistants. While opinions differ on how much of the map was completed, Rumsey was able to locate only the lower two sheets of the map, while Wheat states that 3 sheets were present in the Farquar collection. (See #1238, footnote 43). Warren Heckrotte owned a set of the 4 sheets, the upper two being proofs which were largely incomplete and unfinished, with significantly less topographical and other details.
The differences between the finished sheet (Sheet IV) and the partially finished sheets (Sheets I, II and III) is illustrated in the present set. Sheet III (the most complete of the 3 unfinished sheets), still includes an incomplete topographical finish, as illustrated by the contrasting depictions of the mountain ranges in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.
The present pair extends from Sonoma and Napa Counties in the north to Monterey County in the south and Owens Lake and Columbus Nevada at the eastern extremes of sheet IV, centered on the gold regions.
This Hoffmann produced map is identified as the source information for the highly influential 1873 California Geological Survey Map, making it safe to surmise that the map was issued in or before 1873, with various scholars attributing dates between 1870 and 1873. We offer here Sheet IV, which includes Mariposa, Tuolomne, and Mono Counties in the north (along with Esmerelda County Nevada), and extends south to Owens Lake, Visalia and the Tule Swamp, and a significant portion of Inyo, Fresno and Tulare Counties (pre-dating the creation of several other counties in the region).
A native of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Charles Hoffman was the topographer of J.D. Whitney's State Geological Survey (1860-1874). Hoffmann was one of the pioneers of modern topography and is responsible for the adoption of the contour line for the topographical atlas of the United States, made by the USGS. Of the extant sheets, the southwest sheet is perhaps the most important, being the first comprehensive map of the High Sierra. The detail in the map is truly extraordinary and includes significantly more detail in the region than any map to date.
The present example has never been folded.
Josiah Dwight Whitney (November 23, 1819 – August 18, 1896) was an American geologist, professor of geology at Harvard University, and chief of the California Geological Survey (1860–1874).
Whitneyw as the foremost authority of his day on the economic geology of the U.S. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States, and the Whitney Glacier, the first confirmed glacier in the United States, on Mount Shasta, were both named after Whitney.
Born in Northampton, Massachusetts, Whitney was the oldest of 12 children. His father was Josiah Dwight Whitney (1786–1869) of the New England Dwight family. His mother was Sarah Williston (1800–1833). He was the brother of grammarian and lexicographer William Dwight Whitney (1827–1894). He was educated at a series of schools in Northampton, Plainfield, Round Hill, New Haven and Andover.
He studied chemistry, mineralogy and astronomy at Yale. After graduation in 1839, he continued to study chemistry in Philadelphia, and in 1840 he joined a geologic survey of New Hampshire as an unpaid assistant to Charles T. Jackson. In 1847, he and John Wells Foster were hired by the US Government to assist Charles T. Jackson in its survey of the Lake Superior land district of northern Michigan, which was about to become a major copper and iron mining region. When Jackson was dismissed from the survey, Foster and Whitney completed it in 1850 and the final report was published under their names.